The Cardinal of Numbers had been born, they said, on the wrong side of the bars. From seven to fifteen he had been reprieved, but by sixteen he had slipped back to shadow, on the wrong side of the bars again.
He counted time for them, the passing days scored one by one on some once-unnoticed wall. They listened to his history; a welcome distraction, reliving yesterday in another’s skin.
When the guards called time and he left, all agreed: the wide world was no place for a boy like him. He would have been better with them, behind bars.